Summer is upon us, which means its time to shed those brown ales, coffee stouts, and porters, for lighter fare that is much more enjoyable when the mercury spikes. Leaving behind those heavy ales doesn’t mean you have to throw a case of light beer in the cooler on your way to the closest watering hole. There are plenty of craft beers out there that are made with just enough care, flavor, and hops to still be enjoyable through all the sweat and sunburns.
Here is a list of various summer ales, depending on what you’re looking for and what the occasion may be, to enjoy this summer while you wait on the fall brewing season. These are also readily available across the country, for the most part. If you want something that still has plenty of hoppy bite, or something with a little fruit to lighten the mood, you can find something here…
Sam Adams Summer Ale – The absolute go to for balance, flavor, and all-around universal summer enjoyment, the Sam Adams Summer Ale works for a cookout, a campout, or a night sitting out on the patio willing the hot sun to go below the horizon. Sam Summer is a wheat beer with hints of lemon in its finish, which is light and fleeting, and the body is bountiful.
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy – This is a great beer for when it gets hot, and I mean really hot. Those dog days of August, even those July days nearing triple digits are perfect for this Summer Shandy, which is less a beer and more a lemonade that has its sweetness calmed by hops and barely. It is fleeting and easy to drink, and the alcohol content is lower than most craft beers, making it a nice all day sipper.
New Belgium Shift – This is a pale lager, which is perfect for summer nights and barbecues, but it is definitely the summer beer for the hops lover. It has a bite, and it is bold in its finish. If you are looking for a hop-heavy brew in a season where hops seem to take a backseat to fruit, this is the one for you.
Stiegl Radler Grapefruit – The name says it all, a grapefruit beer. This beer is refreshing and tart as it is blended directly with grapefruit juice at conception, but it never loses sight of its roots as a beer. It may be too sweet to ingest when it nears 100 degrees, but in the evening, after a light dinner, it is the perfect way to wind down in the backyard.
Founders All Day IPA – For those who love an IPA, but the heat in the summer may conflict with the stout hoppy nature of typical IPAs, All Day is a perfect blend. While it still captures all the robust notes of a traditional IPA, the finish is much cleaner and the beer itself is less filling. And the name, All Day, is in reference to the lower ABV percentage, which is another reason why it stays less filling.